If you recognize the scientific names of two new ant species discovered in the South Pacific — Pheidole drogon and Pheidole viserion — it’s because they are indeed named for the Game of Thrones dragons they so resemble.
Were you to read the discovery paper recently published in PLOS ONE, you’d be inundated with disorienting facts and figures until you reached the bottom, where you’d find two blurbs unlike anything you’d usually find in a science journal:
[Pheidole viserion] Etymology: The species name refers to Viserion, the cream and gold colored dragon of Daenerys Targaryen, a fictional character from the George R. R. Martin’s novel A Song of Ice and Fire.
[Pheidole drogon] Etymology: The species name refers to Drogon, the black-colored dragon of Daenerys Targaryen, a fictional character from the George R. R. Martin’s novel A Song of Ice and Fire.
When research team member Evan Economo noticed the ants’ coloring, as well as their spines resembling both wings and claws, he knew there was only one way to name these new creatures.
But these ants’ unique spines suggest more than their zeitgeist-catching names. While the working theory had long been that ant spines were used for defense, the new research suggests that these ants’ spines are used for something different altogether.
The researchers correctly hypothesized that the spines evolved differently in two different castes of these ants: major workers (who do most of the colony’s work) and minor workers (who do less). Major workers’ spines evolved in a certain way so as to support a greater musculature capable of supporting their abnormally large heads, which are used to break up large food sources to be spread among the colony.
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Over 500,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled
Wearables — Stop the sweat
Electronics — Hummm… 60Hz noise in your amplifier driving you nuts?
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: EuroPython 2021, CircuitPython 7.0.0 alpha 5 and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Forest Fire Beacons, IoT for Beginners, and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode for the micro:bit - 2021 Release!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 7/28/21 w/ Adafruit MCP9601 (MCP96L01) I2C Thermocouple Amplifier – STEMMA QT /Qwiic!
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.